Pipe sections for the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline have started to arrive at a Houston storage site. (Photo courtesy Coastal GasLink)

Progress being made along Coastal GasLink route

Pipe sections arriving at a storage site in Houston

One Coastal GasLink pipeline section south of Burns Lake and Houston has had nearly 40 per cent of the right-of-way cleared while clearing on a second section has yet to start, reports the company.

The first section, called Section 6, is 85 kilometres long and runs south of Burns Lake and north of Francois Lake while the second section of 78 kilometres extends from south of Houston to north of Morice Lake.

Work along the second section, called Section 7, was affected by the blockade of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs leading up to the enforcement of a B.C. Supreme Court injunction the end of January.

Coastal GasLink also stopped work along that second section south of Houston while the federal and provincial governments and Wet’suwet’en chiefs worked out a preliminary agreement on rights and title earlier this month.

Route clearing along Section 6, includes road maintenance with debris burning being scheduled and a large work camp called 7 Mile Road Lodge due to open the end of the month. Public tours and a public opening scheduled for the end of March has been put off as a COVID-19 precautionary measure

That accommodation facility can hold 500 people at capacity, depending upon construction scheduling.

There are now approximately 200 workers in the Burns Lake area.

On Section 7 there’s grading and site preparation going on at a site near Houston to contain sections of the pipe in readiness for placing it in the ground once clearing is done and trenching has commenced.

“We continue to advance pre-construction work in Section 7 and are working to the complete the necessary work to proceed with construction activities,” said Coastal GasLink official Suzanne Wilton.

“This is not unexpected and was taken into account in our overall planning due to previously being blocked from accessing the area.”

Wilton also noted that Section 8, the last section of the route from south of Houston to the LNG Canada gas liquefaction plant at Kitimat has had 66 per cent of its route cleared and some of the section’s length includes Wet’suwet’en territory.

Pipe transport to the Houston storage site is underway now and will continue through to April 2021

“From now until July, approximately 36 kilometres pipe is expected to be trucked from [the] Stewart port and Camrose, Alberta and coming from manufacturers Welspun and Sumitomo,” said Wilton.

“An additional 114 kilometres of pipe will be delivered from October until March of 2021. This additional supply will come from Evraz in Saskatchewan, which will arrive via rail siding, as well as Welspun.”

In all, Wilton said approximately 390,000 tonnes of pipe is required for the 670 kilometre-long pipeline with the majority of materials made in Canada due to the company’s specifications and high standards.

“For Houston deliveries, the pipes will be 12-metre joints and 18-metre joints. Roughly two-three joints per truckload depending on the weight due to wall thickness,” she added.

Houston residents can expect to see truck traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., six days a week and traffic management plans are in place for safety and to minimize potential effects on local traffic flows.

With pipe now arriving and related work underway, preparations continue for another large accommodation facility called Huckleberry Lodge south of Houston. It will hold in the neighbourhood of 600-700 people depending upon construction requirements with occupancy scheduled for this July and lasting until March 2022.

A second large camp, 9A, on the western end of Section 7 is not yet occupied and is being established for a workforce of approximately 450 people. Peak occupancy will be next summer.

Sections 6 and 7 are being built by Coastal GasLink prime contractor Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction, one of four such contractors retained for the project. The pipeline is divided into eight sections and each prime contractor has two sections.

As of this month, Coastal GasLink says 62 per cent of the 670 kilometre-long route from the gas fields of northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada liquefication plant now under construction at Kitimat has been cleared.

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